Timothy Keenan, a businessman and an OSU alumnus, is giving the Ohio State entrepreneurship program a push.
Keenan is giving $1 million to the OSU Fisher College of Business to support technology entrepreneurship and commercialization education for undergraduates.
There are about 17 Division I universities that offer a degree in entrepreneurship, and “very few went to the extent that Fisher did to approve its minor,” Keenan said in an interview with The Lantern.
“This gift will give OSU a leg up,” added Keenan, the chief executive officer of Keenan and Associates, a claims adjusting and claims administration business based in New Mexico.
The donation will create the Tim and Kathleen Keenan Family Entrepreneurship Curriculum and Program Support Fund. There will also be a five-year plan for Fisher College of Business to consult Keenan on various issues.
The money will go toward things such as supplying student startups with mentors and networking chances, training instructors and funding a speaker series, according to Columbus Business First.
Keenan holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from OSU and a master of business administration from Southern Illinois University. He co-founded High Performance Technologies, Inc., an information technology firm that provided professional services to several federal agencies, in 1991 and sold it in 2011.
Keenan said he feels the economy from 2007 to 2009 hit Ohio particularly hard, and he wanted to help by donating to OSU.
“Ohio needed a balance point, and I thought this donation would be the right way to go about it,” Keenan said.
Keenan added that he might donate more to Fisher in the future and that the $1 million is “a trial balloon.”
“If they achieve the goals that I have laid out, then there will be additional money. First, I want to see that they follow through on their promises,” he said.
Keenan has been on the Dean’s Advisory Council at Fisher for about 10 years. He lives in Reston, Va., and has a wife and three children.
Christine Poon, dean of the Fisher College of Business, said she feels Keenan loves what he does and wants to share that with his donation.
“I think he is very passionate about entrepreneurship, and he believes that a university like Ohio State has a role in helping students to learn the principles of entrepreneurship,” Poon said.
Poon believes that the combination of the entrepreneurship minor with students’ other studies will increase graduates’ ability to be successful.
Devin Mills, a third-year in business with a minor in entrepreneurship, has had family members start their own companies. It was that inspiration that set him on his current path.
“The entrepreneurship minor is a great way for all students at the university, not just limited to business majors, to learn skills and information that can help them create their own business someday,” Mills said.
Mills said he is grateful for Keenan’s donation but that it’s about more than just more funding.
“It means a lot when alumni donate back to programs that helped them get to where they are today,” Mills said.